Staring Down the Barrel of a (Hot Glue) Gun

Sometimes your mind can be so open that your brain falls out.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Stripes: The Devil's Fabric

Who knew? More random trivia...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Taking a Chance

Checking out books from the library for me historically results in astronomical fines and the wish that I had just bought the book instead. However, two days a go I did just that (and only checked out one as a meagre form of damage control.)

I am now attempting to read "The Life and Times of the Thuderbolt Kid", by Bill Bryson. For the most part I've enjoyed his work in the past, and usually laugh out loud at his style of writing (not to mention his anecdotes. I highly recommend "A Walk in the Woods". Peed myself at one point.

Anyhow, this is a memoir of his growing up in Des Moines with his family. Definitely some laugh out loud moments already, but I also stumbled across another trivia tidbit. And I quote:

Up until Pearl Harbor, half of the 48 states had laws making it illegal to
employ a married woman.

Who knew?!I knew working women weren't de rigeur back then, but actual laws prohibiting it? I had no idea.

I actually managed to read two books while on my trip to Italy. Amazing what can happen if you have nothing else to do. I remember those days... I reread "The Phantom Tollbooth", which held up amazingly well almost 25 years later, and also "People of the Book" by Geraldine Brooks, who also wrote the stunning "March", which won a Pulitzer. "People" was also a riveting book. Minnie ran out of books to read so I lent her that one, and spent the whole time she was reading it demanding to know whether or not she was enjoying it ("Yes! Now go away!") I might have to start making time to read more. It was actually...fun1 Didn't hurt that I had really excellent books either. I bought an enormous tome to read on the 11 hour flight home, and got about a third of the way through the 900 pages. It was a decent story, but frankly it was nonstop intrigue and chases et al, that it became rather fatiguing to read! But, as I hate to leave things unfinished, at some point I'll probably get around to that one too. Oh, its called "The Glass Book of the Dream Eaters". Something British (at least I didn't buy a British cookbook.)

Hate My Face

Yep. Pictures of me on the Italy trip are starting to make themselves seen on Flickr. Pretty much hate every single one of them.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Merry-Go-Round Trivia

CAROUSEL FACTS:(taken from

In England, carousels have been called roundabouts and galopers. It is also interesting to note that in England, the carousel turns clockwise while American carousels have always turned counterclockwise. It is easy to tell the origin of a carousel horse because the side facing outward was more heavily carved and adorned than the side facing inward. The side facing the audience is called the "romance" side.

The reason carousels rotate clockwise in England is so that the horse may be properly mounted the left side.

In France, these rides are called carrousels and manèges de chevaux de bois.

In Germany, they are called karussell.In America, in addition to carousels they have been called whirligigs, flying horses, hobby horses and of course merry-go-rounds.

The golden age of carousels lasted only 25 years and ended in 1920.The people who built the first carousels in America were mostly immigrant craftsmen skilled in the detailed wood craft of church interiors of the period.

Over 6000 carousels were built during the carousel era. Only about 200 of these original hand crafted machines have survived till today. Most were lost in storms, fires, and neglect. It was common for amusement parks to be constructed in low lying areas which were flood prone. Many carousels were lost to floods.

Common themes for carousels were patriotism, cowboys and Indians, the cavalry, nursery rhymes, and animals and sea creatures. Other interesting figures seen on carousels were the statue of liberty, uncle Sam, presidential portraits, and eagles.

Horses with at least 3 feet touching the floor are called "standing figures." Horses with two back feet resting on the platform and front feet posed in the air are called "prancers." Horses with all four feet in the air and called "jumpers" and are the ones that move up and down.

Figures other than horses were called "menagerie" animals. Less of these creatures were made because children found horses to be less intimidating.

Some carousels in Germany were two story double deckers. They were not popular in America due to difficulties in quickly loading and unloading passengers.

Carousels came in three, four or five row sizes.

Collecting original carousel figures became quite popular in the 1970's. These hard to find carved figures bring heavy prices well over $100,000.

Most of the carousel figures seen today on modern machines, are made of fiberglass and are molded from the original hand carved figures.

Friday, April 24, 2009


Right, so thank you to everyone who spoke up about what to call the website. Right now, in the interet of just having something up and running to send to perspective employers, Husband threw my stuff up** onto the [last name] website. Its not glamorous or polished, but its not terrible either. It will definitely do the job until such time as I actually have the time to figure out what I want and find someone to do it for me.

I think I will probably go the route of simple and straigtforward when the website does finally happen. Seemed to be a pretty popular choice and really, I'm not that much of a logo person. Hell, I can't decide what I want my next tatoo to be of either. And trying to make business cards upon graduation was the 7th level of hell for me. Simple it is!

** Which he sat down and did last Staurday morning and midday start to finish. Was greatly appreciated.

Oh, And I Forgot to Mention...

In my latest flurry of trying to prostitute myself out for work, I realized I could add the current design gig to my resume. In doing so, in order to prevent it from being more than just one page, I had to take out almost all references to aviation. My resume is now almost 100% sewing, for the first time in my life. Feeling pretty tickled about that. Really, when I reach the point where other sewing stuff starts to fall off the resume, I'll know I've arrived. :)

And I'm not kidding about the prostitution part, either. There's not a lot happening sewing wise in the Bay Area right now (or I'm just missing it, which I doubt,) so I'm casting my net pretty far, as long as they are short-term gigs. Still really bummed the Tahoe thing didn't pan out, missed a job in Fargo, ND which sounded not too terrible (aside form being in Fargo, ND,) and just Priority Mailed a resume and a mini-portfolio off to Great Falls, MT for a fairly sweet job. That one'd be as a designer again, as opposed to just beig a stitcher, which I would gladly take too (in case you're paynig attention, Universe...) Don't get me wrong; I'm trying for more metropolitan areas as well. Have put in applications in the Dallas, Boston, and DC areas to boot. Of course, as I am getting these postings off of a national website, so are 4000 of my closest friends. You know, the ones who aren't in Fargo or Great Falls.

Keep your fingers crossed that I land *something* for the summer. And actually, I've never been to Montana, and I hear its beautiful there. Big Sky Country and all that. That, and I've always wanted a pair of real cowboy boots.

Finished a Costume Today

I'm too tired to scan the illustration right this second, but its a perfect match, if I do say so myself.
Funny thing about costume construction; you assemble it so that it can be easily disassembled (for alterations.) Part of my brain is really screaming about the non-couture-ness of the whole thing, and I probably could throw in an shortcut or two for speed, but I am trying to do everything the way I was instructed on at my last gig. I heard a lot of "When I worked at the [theater name], we did it like this," comments, which far from being irritaed by I gobbled up like mad. (Being taught how to do it as if being in a professional costume shop is a-ok in my book!) I'm hoping it'll just become habit from now on, and I can transfer those skills to some nameless, unknown shop in my future.
Just looked at the dress again. Lest I tempt the fates, I'm feeling pretty smug about how well it turned out. Really.

Angry Day

Today kinda sucked. Oh, the sewing is coming along nicely, and I had a nice lunch outside in the sun (even though it was cold and windy.) Just had a lot on my mind, and instead of spiraling down, I spiraled up. Or maybe bigger. Not quite sure how to phrase it, except I got angry. Revisited a problem I had, which lead to thinking about another probelm, and I realized IO was angry about that too. And I kept on going until I realized I was actually very *angry* about many things in my life, as well as frustrated, or sad, or confused. I'm angry at my sister-in-law for spending my entire marriage trying to vilify me to her family, I'm angry at a friend who wrote me out of her life last year with a meager 3 line email. I'm angry at my first boyfrined. I'm angry at part s of my marriage. I'm angry at my body for utterly betraying me for no apparent reason. I'm angry at the way I look, and the unfairness of the whole health package. I'm angry that for the second time the economy has tanked just as I was entering the work force. I'm angry that we still have pantry moths and I can't figure out where they're coming from! Oh god, the list just goes ON.

I used to really enjoy sewing for the zen-ness of it, for lack of a better term. I could sit down to sew and kind of chill inside my brain. Apparently those days are gone; now I go in my brain and pick up whatever issue is bothering me and run with it. Dammit. Guess maybe the upside to that is I'm a skilled enough sewer to the point where I totally don't have to think about sewing and can check out that hard, huh? Hmmm, maybe I just need harder projects.

Luckily I had to meet the fam at dinnertime and got totally distracted. Easy enough to do when you are meeting them at the Fairway of a carnival, n'est-ce pas? Yeah, one of the local churches hired a bunch of mobile carnival rides for their fundraiser/festival, and Mags sees to be of the age where she'd appreciate it. And I think she did, mostly. Mostly she wanted to just win the giant stuffed Tweety Bird and to crawl inside my sweater (she was pretty badly underdressed for the temperature swing that hit the area.) We did catch a couple of insanely overpriced rides and eat some ridiculously overpriced food, though before we went home. Will probably go back at some point this weekend to use up the last of our ride tickets. Seriously. So crazy expensive. Even for a fundraiser!

But I digress. Got distracted, which was my point anyhow. I think all the noise and the blinky lights and the slightly whiny child got me good and distracted, because when I went back to work at 9pm, I was fine. Productive, but more importantly, les in the mood to bawl, which I will take as a good sign. Here's hoping tomorrow is also good and distracted and productive.

First Thing

First thing outta Mags' mouth this morning: "Did you get the ring, mom? The one for hypnosis?"

First thing outta Mamacat's mouth this morning: a dead mouse, proudly delivered to my door with much loud announcing.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Offspring Story of the Day

Today's episode: Stalling! But not by Mags -- by me.

I've started reading a new book series with Mags; The Amazing Adventures of Captain Underpants, I believe it is called. She loves it. And why shouldn't she? There are underpants! Monsters eating underpants! Plastic dog poop! (this kills her every time.) Maybe not the most high-brow reading we could be doing, but at least she is sitting through even more chapter books, which is good.

But here's where it got tricky. First off was me trying to explain to Mags what hypnotism is. Sure, I know what it is - duh - but trying to explain it to a 5 year old? I kind of locked up. Started and stopped a bunch of times.

Me: Well, its,, I'm not sure how to explain it, honey.
Mags: (puts a consoling hand on my arm.) Mom, Its ok. Just stop. Think. And then talk.
Me: (pause) Learn that at school, did we?
Mags: Yep. Try again, mom. And remember what I told you.

Well! With such expert advice how could I not succeed? She was entranced, entralled, enraptured. She LOVED the idea that you could make someone do stuff by making their brains 'fall asleep'! And the part where the kids hypnotized the principal? You know - a grown up?!?Wow. She almost exploded.

So of course now she wants to be hypnotized. BAD. After the book she begged me to do it to her.

Mags: Please mom! Hypnotize me! Pleeeease! Here, I'll lay down. (lies straight as a board, arms stiff at her sides.) Ok, I'm ready!
Mom: But honey....
Mags: Oooh, I know, mom! Hypnotize me to go to school tomorrow!
Mom: Thats something you're already going to do, hon. That's not what you hypnotize someone for.
Mags: Ok, well then just hypnotize me for ANYTHING!
Me: How about...eating cat food? Or wearing jeans?
Mags: Yuk, mom! I don't want to eat cat food and I DEFINITELY DO NOT want to wear JEANS!
Me: Well, you know, I don't really know how to -
Mags: Its ok, mom, you can just write it down on paper, and when you need help you can just read the paper and then you'll know how! Here, I'll go get you some paper right now. (leaps out of bed.)
Me: Hey!
Mags: I'll be right back!

So earnest, so sincere in trying to help me figure out how to remember how to hypnotize someone. I couldn't burst her bubble (or laugh straight in her face - so cute!) But how to get out of it...I know, the old standby!

Me: Ok, honey, time for bed.
Mags: But mom, I'm writing it down for you!
Me: Its bedtime now. We can do this another time.
Mags: But I want to be hypnotized! (sobs)
Me: Well, what if we...hypnotize dad instead? Its much more fun that way. If you're hypnotized, you don't remember anything!
Mags: No, *I* want to be hypnotized!
Me: Baby, I can't do it now even if it wasn't bedtime! I, umm..don't have the ring! Like they had in the book! Remember? They had to buy that special ring!
Mags: (perking up) Do you have one?
Me: No, I don't.
Mags: But you can order one, right mom? Like they did in the book? You should order one -
Me: I don't think -
Mags: like they did! How long does it take mom, How long?
Me: Umm, 4 to 6 weeks, just like the book.
Mags: How many sleeps is that?

So, I've bough myself some time. I'm hoping that by June we'll have forgottren out burning desire to be hypnotized, but I'm going to come up with some sort of alternate plan in the meantime just in case. Like, getting dad to do it.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Offspring Story of the Day

Wow. I just got the smack-down from my 5 year old!

Mags and I were driving around today on what was turning into a very long errand. As we were driving around trying to find the store, Mags piped up from the back:

Mags: We're just driving around doing nothing. And we shouldn't be doing that. 'Cause you know why? Today is Earth Day! And we're supposed to be taking care of Mother Earth, Mom. But we're not! We're just driving around doing nothing!
Me: Uh huh.
Mags: Its a special day, mom! And you're not doing anything! In fact, you're being bad!
Me: What, because I'm driving the car?
Mags: Yeah! You're... you're trashing the earth, mom!!

I missed the part of the weekly school itinerary where it listed 'practice irate tree-hugging Northern Californian sing-a-long'. Oh, here it is, right under 'Commie Pinko Liberal Hide and Seek' and next to 'painting a rainbow flag for arts and crafts'. Love my school! :D

Friday, April 17, 2009

Opinion, Please!

Ok, running to Kinkos every time I need to update my resume or my portfolio is turning into an ENORMOUS pain in my ass, and I am SO OVER IT. (Of COURSE the font I like is not on my home comuter!) Its chewing up stupid amounts of money AND is wasting a LOT of my time.

Time for an actual business website. You know, something with all of my work posted on it (as opposed to links to random pictures on Flickr) and my resume, which I can update at the touch of a button (in my HOUSE!)

Question is now, what do I call the website? Something straightforward like: Costumesby[name].com? Or something more witty? Or hip? This is the part I'm not good at. Especially not while still being crazy jet lagged, wildly distracted by the current show, or recovering from mom-in-law's low-drama-but-still-whirlwind visit over the past week.

So, give me ideas! What to do you think would be catchy? Or clever? Is starightforward best? Help!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Unintentional Revenge is Even Sweeter

Many moons ago, when I was quite young, impressionable, and to be honest, kind of dumb - I dated a professional photographer. In hindsight I can see he was an ass, but at the time I was so happy that someone was finally interested in me, I turned my eyes to a lot of things.

At the time I also had basically no experience with photography other than completely automatic point and shoots, which I used fairly liberally. For some reason - oh, that's right; he was an ASS HOLE - said boyfriend found it necessary to inform me that I would never take photographs; only pictures. Being something of a fragile soul to begin with and desperate to garner his approval, I was mortified by the criticism and didn't touch a camera for years, even after we'd long since broken up.

Fast forward more than a decade (I can't believe I am old enough to say that!) and things are a little different. I am back to enjoying photography, and have definitely improved in my skills. I am also able to admit that my work might not be technically perfect, but it doesn't have to be. And I'm more than happy to bore folks with pages upon pages of my photos on Flickr, confident that if folks don't like them, hey! They don't have to look at them! And its ok! Its a good feeling.

I bring this up because of a few emails I've received recently. You may recall that two separate photos of mine have been chosen to be included in other websites (the home-made party invitations and the shot of SF City Hall.) Additionally, just this past week I was contacted by KQED to get permission to use another photo of mine in an upcoming television show of theirs. I'm waiting for their official release form, and am working under the assumtion that this will be gratis, but who cares? If I can get a copy of the show to send to my grandma so she can get a kick out of seeing my name in the credits, that's good enough for me. :)

But the best one came last night. I got an email from a friend/photographer who I had helped last year. At the end of that assignment, he asked me to take his photo, as being on the other side of the camera he is rarely actually *in* photos. In his email last night, he informed me that that picture is on the front page of his website, and my name is listed as a credit under it. When I saw it, I have to admit I got just slightly choked up. Going from being berated by a photographer to being recognised by one? I'm going to be slightly California for a second here, but that felt sort of cosmically full circle, if you know what I mean.

I just got back from a trip to Italy, and came home with about, oh, 12Gb worth of pictures. I'll weed out the truly crappy ones and try to be selective in chosing the other 8 million that I post. But its ok now. They aren't all going to be perfect, and I might bore you to death, but sometimes photographers do that. :)

Friday, April 03, 2009

Rented Villain - Ha!

Just saw a typo in my last post, but I like it too much to delete it. :)

Eagle 2 Has Landed

Technically though, I think she's #3. Em arrived a few short hours ago. Minnie and I limped out with her - our legs are bloody stumps after another marathon sight-seeing day - and celebrated her 30th birthday at yet another ridiculously charming and tasty local restaurant. We drank and laughed and drank some omre, and then I got complimented on my Italian!! (thud) It was a fantastic night!

We meet the last wave of attendees tomorrow noonish, are then off to our rented villain Tuscany (can I just say I feel slightly ridiculous and pretentious saying that, yet am so looking forward to it?!?) I have been studying the drivers here and feel confident that I can drive just fine here, as the only rule I have seen observed is just don't hit anybody. Check.

Saw a cop chase and fire fighters put out a car fire today. Am hoping I do not see anything involving an ambulance on this trip, as knowing my luck I'd probably end up being the passenger. (Dear universe, we can skip the ambulance ride, ok?)

Plenty going on, many wonderful things seen. Just not spending a lot of time near a computer, and frankly donàt really want to. Have already taken almost 8GB worth of photos though. Its only been two days. Dear god. I'm not even done uploading the Russia pictures yet...

Note for any future travellers to Rome_ skip the colluseum. Seriously. The audio tour is very detailed, but pretty much what you see is what you get. No extra hidden easter eggs for seeing it live versus every photo you've ever seen. And much less crowded to lookat photos in a book. Also, travelling inApril is great for the temperature, but the city is over-run with high schoolers on spring break with their classes. Dear god.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

When In Rome

Apparently there *is* an upside to getting a major operation on your head every year, and that is being able to travel afterwards. I seemed to have stumbled across the perfect trifecta of head surgeries (the ultimate justifaication machine), being unemployed and having great opportunities in my lap.**

Right now its 248am and I'm totally jetlagged. I'm also totally in Rome.

While I am often jealous of Em and her world-travelling lifestyle, I really appreciate the fact that she has invited me along more than once. And now, lo! Minnie and I are meeting up with Em and a few others for her 30th birthday (*cough* bitch *cough*) They don't start arriving until Friday night, though. So for right now its just me and Minnie taking Italy by storm.

Well, slowly, anyhow. We did start this whole trip with a 3 hour delay in SFO, which made those well-timed drinks (and dare I admit a Brownie for myself?!?) not so well timed? Yeah, I'll only speak for myself, but I was pretty well rocked and flying before we even got on the plane. Nearly missed our connection in Amsterdam, but in the end it was all quite uneventful. Sleeping was a bit of a bitch, but the free booze and good amount of surprisingly tasty airplane food took the edge off.

We've pulled off the plain-train-automobile trifecta, all in one very long day, and are now staying at a small hostel in Rome proper. Its not fancy, but the rooms are clean (and private) and the concierge is beyond helpful. He's already pulled out several maps and shown us what to see, what buses to take, and where to eat. Dinner was pretty much the only thing we accomplished today before going to bed, but it was quite good. And I think I'm going to really like the bottle-of-wine-with-all-meals aspect of Italy.

The only thing we're going to have to watch out for while here is pickpockets. Pickpockets and jet lag. Two! The two things we're going to have to watch out for are pickpockets and jet lag, and not being run over by Roman drivers. (pause) The three --- let me go out and try that again.

(door slams)

The three things we will have to be careful of while in Rome are: pickpockets, jet lag, not being run over by cars, and the european keyboards at the hostel.

Sigh. I need a comfy chair. And some sleep. Not necessarily atthe same time - had plenty of that on the plane, thanks.

Tomorrow's forcast is more rain, so we'll probably find something indoors-y to do after we buy our transportation pass. Friday is supposed to be nice, though. Luckily it sounds like Minnie and I have pretty similar tastes in what to see/do so far, like fabric shopping (!), so we've got that going for us. Will be taking lots of pictures as I've hauled all of my camera gear with me this far. Will hopefully be less zombified tomorrow.

Ciao ciao!

** For the record, I want to get a job and I want to have no more surgeries on my head. Can't lie about the travelling part though (two outta three ain't bad?) But I realize this is not sustainable regularly. Le sigh.